South Korea on Wednesday night reported its first five cases of the Omicron variant.
And there are growing concerns that the strain may already be spreading within the local community.
This comes as at least 60 people have come in close contact with a married couple and their friend,.. who all were found to have the Omicron variant.
The variant was also detected in two unvaccinated women in their 50s, who also recently traveled to Nigeria.
Of the five confirmed cases, four are asymptomatic cases, while one has a relatively mild fever.
To tame a potential fifth wave of the pandemic, the government has imposed stricter measures.
All travelers arriving in South Korea,.. regardless of their nationality or vaccination status,.. will have to quarantine for ten days.
The new measure will be implemented on Friday, and will be in place for the next two weeks.
Also starting Friday, the entry of non-Koreans departing from Nigeria will be banned.
This comes as South Korea's daily COVID-19 tally has topped five-thousand for two days straight.
The country on Thursday reported an all-time high of 5-thousand 2-hundred 66 new cases.
Compared to a week ago, this is up by more than 1-thousand 3-hundred cases.
Meanwhile, the number of severely-ill patients was above the 7-hundred mark for the second day in a row.
There were a record 7-hundred 33 critically-ill patients.
Against this backdrop, the government is considering reimposing restrictions equivalent to social distancing level four.
What may be included in the new measure is the reduction of permitted social gathering sizes,.. as well as the number of unvaccinated people allowed in cafes and restaurants.
Officials are also reviewing whether to ban gatherings at nightlife entertainment facilities and restrict business operating hours.
The finalized details are set to be announced on Friday.
Choi Min-jung, Arirang News.